Terrible hosts, obvious awards, mostly good performances = yet another so-so MOBO's
With Channel 4 passing on the ceremony this year, the BBC picked up coverage for the first time, screening the awards live on BBC3 and then highlights a few days later on BBC1. The show opens with the disappointing news that Gina Yashere will be host. Representing black culture by being unfunny, heavily tattooed and wearing trainers below her evening gown, she is as crass and obnoxious and her humour is unbefitting such a (supposedly) "big" awards show. Although it must be said that in the last year Yashere's body has grown more than the MOBO's stature it actually looks at times that her body is trying to climb up and over her head.
After an opening performance by Rihanna (who is mostly on-tune but does Unfaithful one of her blandest songs), Yashere is joined by Coolio who turns up with a swagger that is forced and the audience seem uninterested by. It isn't helped by them not having much chemistry and, as last year, I was glad when they were off. The award for best male sums up the problem with the MOBO's by it going to Lemar, who is a safe winner who's music I find inoffensive and easy. Likewise best group went to Black Eyed Peas another easy choice. Bailey Rae's performance is good and she looked classy in her dress and her winning best UK female and best UK newcomer.
Beyonce was the big winner of the night despite the fact that she was not present. It is not a big deal that she couldn't make it but it made her look bad when it was rumoured that she refused to appear because former Destiny's Child member LeToya was performing. She was booed and, if it was for this reason then I understand why (not that I think she cared) and I think it was a bad call by the BBC to edit that out of the highlights show. Of her wins Best Video wasn't deserved for her generic ass-shaking in Deja-Vu and likewise that song was too typical to beat the much better "Crazy" from Gnarls Barkley or the UK favourite "Put your records on". International female was a given of course but missing out on best R'n'B was a surprise (but I suppose they had to give Rihanna something for coming over).
Despite the claims that the ceremony leans towards the US (it does of course) they deserve credit for recognising Akala. Awards for best DJ, reggae, gospel and African act didn't really interest me that much but it did bug me that they dropped jazz this from an awards that gave one for "best ringtone" a year or so back! The presenters are an obvious bunch and features a handful of annoying "yup, yup, yup" types who seemed afraid to just relax and be natural. Conversely Sugababe's Kiesha, Amerie and Cassie are all not only stunning but actually pretty good at delivering lines without them sounding clunky. The dread Trevor Phillips turns up to do his usual thing of dredging up excuses and blaming others (in this case dragging up slavery and making the modern kidnapping of women into prostitution a "black" thing despite the majority coming from Eastern Europe).
The performances are mixed but mostly good. Lemar did nothing for me but Jamelia was good and makes a solid comeback (again) at the awards she has owned other years shame she is badly off-tune at times but she looked great. Sway's performance against cars and girls was uninspired and derivative both in setting and song (sorry not a fan). Beyonce's absence seems even more misjudged (if rumours are true) as LeToya gave a great performance with a pretty good r'n'b love song. Sam Moore of Sam & Dave fame gives a good account of himself with Keisha White despite spending the first minute of his song struggling with his earpiece. White wisely provides support but never threatens to upstage her senior, who then closes the show in style with Soul Man.
Overall then a solid but unspectacular show that has just enough good performances to be make it worth seeing. The awards are handed out without drawing much emotion from me and, although the individual presenters were mostly good (or in Kiesha and Amerie's case, gorgeous) I wished that the BBC had simply edited Yashere out of the show because she was so awful. Hearing her compare herself to Billy Crystal and declare she is here to stay was the low point of the event for me.
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